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FTC shuts down multi-million dollar phone scam

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What do you say to a group of thieves that steal more than $20 million from tens of thousands of older consumers? The FTC says, “Gotcha!”

The FTC filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop a multi-million dollar cross-border telemarketing operation led by Ari Tietolman. The FTC alleged that phone scammers in the U.S. and Canada pitched bogus fraud protection, legal protection, and pharmaceutical benefit services in a ruse to steal money from unsuspecting seniors. According to the FTC’s complaint, the scammers used scare tactics and outright lies to get consumers’ bank account information. Sometimes the scammers impersonated bankers or government officials and told consumers their accounts were at risk. The FTC alleges that, once the scammers had the bank information, they withdrew money from the victims’ accounts without their knowledge.

A federal judge granted the FTC’s request to halt the scam and freeze the defendants’ assets pending the outcome of the FTC’s lawsuit.

Telemarketing scammers are good at what they do, but you can take action to counter them and help others from becoming a victim:

  • Recognize the signs of telemarketing fraud, like callers who ask for money first or who want to know your bank account, credit card or Social Security number. Share the warning signs with family, friends, and co-workers.
  • Report the calls to the FTC. Complaints matter at the FTC; they help drive agency investigations and cases just like the one against First Consumers.
  • Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register online or call toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register. You’ll get fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number.
  • Subscribe to our blog for consumer news and scam alerts, and share the information.

Comments

For five years now I've recieved actually thousands of phone calls from scam outfits such as us pharmacy. All of the callers have Indian accents, and numerous time I've been told by the caller that they are calling form Mumbai India. I've filled hundreds of reports with the FTC. The calls have diminished somewhat but still i get at least 5 calls per day from these relentless idiots. One of the solutions I've come up with it to call The Indian Embassy in Washington DC. They have at times been somewhat helpful. So I would suggest to anyone who is dealing with the same situation to call The Indian Embassy in Washington DC at 202 939 7000 and talk to them about your experience and ask if they can help in any way. .

Can any one stop these people Driving me crazy calling every day Help !!!!!!

At&T is making money off of these calls or they would stop it.

"I believe the only way to put a stop to these harassing calls from US Pharmacy in India if for everyone getting these calls to call THE INDIA EMBASSY In Washington DC every time they get a call. Their number is 202-939-7000" I wonder if this will work, the US government is totally unable to help with these annoying calls.

Y'all didn't fix it

I couldn't help to add this. When you talk about fixing it, YOU CAN'T! They are calling from countries where they are untouchable by our Laws. They randomly call any numbers, and generally use disposable cell phones; also take into consideration the monetary value, which they steal is probably not enough to warrant local, or federal intervention. There are some things you can do to protect yourself, like reporting these numbers to your carrier, and the Do Not Call registry; if you can't remember the date and time they called, it will be on your bill.
Make sure you screen your calls, and look for odd numbers before you pick up, such as 9 digit numbers, which are not normal US numbers like our 7, and 10 digits. Most overseas calls will appear as 9, or more than 10 digits, so don't pick up the call, and let it go to voice mail; if its important they will leave a message. Also my carrier AT&T offers an app for their members called "Call Protect", which gives you some options to prevent some issues.
I had a serious Phishing call that wanted my credit card information, and all I said was, "did you know this call is being monitored, and traced"? He immediately dropped his professional persona, and started cussing at me, and said your not going to catch me, and hung up; this is when I called my carrier, and found out about the 9 digit phone numbers.
Just be careful, and never give out any personal information regardless of who they say they are, and if you wish to use a credit card, use it wisely. Use a card which has a very low credit limit, or a prepaid credit card with a low preset balance. If someone from a company calls you, and requires a payment, then you tell them you will call them back, and don't use a number they give you. Find the number yourself, by looking on a bill, or in a phone book. Never use a credit card to pay for anything if they have called you!

Constant calls from us pharmacy and credit card services - us pharmacy calls are mean and they think nothing of using profanity - why can these not be stopped!!!

I have Used the do not cal registry, and I still receive unwanted calls . I've had this issue with my cell phone, for quite some time. The problem is that Phishing Callers are just getting smarter, and are calling from countries like India where they are untouchable by our Laws. Please pay attention to incoming calls, and count the digits to make sure there is at least 10, and if see 9 digits, then it is scam call. This is because most numbers from overseas appear as 9 digit numbers, and unfortunately most people don't recognize this. My phone carrier informed me of this, so when I see 9 digit numbers, I let them go to voice mail; I have gotten 3, and nobody left a message. Be careful, when giving your credit card number over the phone, and never give it to people who have called you. You call the company back, from a phone number provided on your bill, then you know it's not a scam. Secondly if you like to shop, and use a credit card on the phone make sure it's a card that has very little monetary value, or use a prepaid card that doesn't have much money on it. To sum it all up, never provide anybody any personal information over the phone, no matter how mad, or persistent they may get, and if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!

tell Trump

Have been receiving text messages daily about 10 times a day...all sorts of spelling errors....craxy stuff how did they get my cell

They will not stop calling me.

This is BS. The FTC doesn't do a single thing. I have filed complaint after complaint with multiple US agencies. These companies violate the law with impunity. US Pharmacy has called me several times a day for years. Their operators got angry at me and even made repeated obscene phone calls to me. They called me 5 times at my mother's funeral. I also complained to the Mumbai police, the Mumbai bar association to no avail. They have a physical location. The FTC could go after them but they don't. Our US government DOESN'T CARE about protecting the average citizen anymore. My only option left is to create a gofundme, go to India, and rip their phones out of the wall.

I texted them back to call the DNCR number.
Call 1 (888) 382-1222
Maybe the registry can track them down and put a stop to it but I sincerely doubt it since it is a world wide scam.

Well, I keep getting calls from U.S. Pharmacy. So, it's time to shut them down again.

These guys selling pharmacy products are using MagicJack to call into the USA

FTC has done NOTHING to stop the scam calls from US Pharmacy, a fake company out of Dubai, India. This company calls 20 times (no bs) a day, each time spoofing a new number from within the USA or outside the USA. Thousands have filed complaints with the FTC with no relief in site.

I have anonymous call blocking.with AT&T and they do not block anything. I get over 60 calls a month from US Pharmacy using different numbers each time. When I attempt to call back AT&Ts recording says the number is no longer in service, if the number is not in service how do I get calls from it and why does AT&T not block it. I believe AT&T is making money from these phishing phone calls.

this is hopeless. I have had my number for 20 years and don't want to change it. That's the phone company's answer. They NEVER STOP calling! I get between 4 and 15 calls a day! And now I get a couple of texts every day too/ In fact, as I write this, my phone is ringing from a call in California where I don't know anyone!

I keep getting calls on my personal cell from a blocked number. A woman with a heavy Indian accent says that this is my online pharmacy calling and at that point I hang up. I can't block the number because there isn't one to block. My number being on the dnc registry is useless.

They call multiple times a day on my work phone from all numbers. I'm so sick of it and nothing gets done. My number is on do not call list and it doesn't help. Useless

They're NOT shut down. I still get several calls a week

I really would like to sue them for 1 billion dollars for sexually harassment (being sworn at), constant harassment by phone calls, mental anguish, threatened to be sued and so on and on and on.

I get upwards of 10 calls each day. Sometimes from the same scammer. I have been polite, I have been angry, I have tried every avenue known to mankind. I have finally have resorted to conversation and ask as many questions as they do..The other day, I struck a nerve apparently when the scammer suggested, I dust off my broom in case I needed to out later in the day..I told him, I liked that line and he hung up on me.

AT FIRST I THOUGHT THAT THE "DO NOT CALL LIST" WAS A GOOD IDEA.IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IF IT ACTUALLY DID WHAT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO DO. INSTEAD THE FTC BECAME THE PARTNER OF THE SCAMMERS, ROBO CALLERS, AND TELEMARKETERS BY PROVIDING THEM WITH A LIST OF VERIFIED PHONE NUMBERS. GOOD JOB GUYS.

US Pharmacy is alive and well. I get several calls a month from them, all from people speaking incomprehensible English and all wanting to send me "Wy-agra" or Cialis. I've called them back several times on on a few occasions have got someone (with a similar accent) claiming to be with the "the department of the computer" at "Meecrosoft" o. Guess it's hard to keep your scams straight. They're as pathetic as they are
evil. .

I doubt anything was shut down because yesterday alone I received 2 calls from them with their made up "American Names" asking how I was and if I took drugs or prescriptions. I replied, "only when you call" and hung up on them. We get calls at least once a week and sometimes up to 9 times a day.

They are still sending me spoof calls many times a day. It's a voip work phone. THIS IS STILL GOING ON!

I have a business phone for real estate and now have over 750 calls blocked and new numbers pop up,texts as well and this list keeps growing. FTC DOES NOTHING!!! 20+ calls a day. I get triple calls while on the phone with a client in a matter of seconds and it disconnects my phone call with clients. 3rd different phone # now and same stuff. RUINING MY BUSINESS!!! INDIA pharmacy,US PHARM,CANADIAN pharm. all calls from INDIA!!!

It's 2018, and this is still going on. I get multiple calls daily from different numbers from "Pharmacy Service." Answering, entering a number followed by #, nothing stops them. I now use voice mail for all calls, but should not have to.

I get 5-7 calls a day from them literally I have used do not call lists, chatted with them blocked hundreds of numbers. Filed complaints with the FTC and FCC about Verizon because I believe its Verizon leaking peoples information maybe just a lack of security but Verizon claims they can sell you a blocking feature that can help even though my bill is already $260 a month. I really think our government is trying so hard to stop them overseas when we could easily force the phone companies to allow customers the ability to block phone calls from 3rd party callers with fake phone numbers. To put it simply, we have the answers but it's just not profitable to the big businesses who make the rules.

Do Not Call L IST DOES NOT WORK WITH THEAS CALLS.
From the Can, US Pharm has been calling me for years.
Every day sometimes 3 or 4 times a day. No matter what I do I can't
get rid of them.

if you shut it down why am i still getting 24 emails a day, and 5 phonecalls every single day from fake numbers and email addresess. are you useless? its 2018

The head on this website is FALSE. The SCAM HAS NOT BEEN SHUT DOWN! It is still operating. Our government has been totally ineffective in reducing telephone scams.

That US pharmacy still calls me with different USA phone numbers, No Kidding 3 times a day, 5 days a week, to my cell number that ive had for 30 years.. i placed my number on that Do Not Call list and has no effect. They are still at it, then, they must sell the list of the numbers to other scam companies. Amazing harassment for life..

Here are two phone numbers I have for "US Pharmacy". Let's blow up their phones! Keep calling THEM. Give these numbers to other phone solicitors so everyone calls them.
888-297-7450
888-305-4591

I am soooo sick on the online pharmacy phone calls damn its getting old!!!! Why cant the government step in and take care of this

What a sad joke. The Federal Trade Commission hasn't shut down anything at all. I get dozens of calls from these criminals every day...every night....round the clock. My number has been on the do not call registry since the very first day there was supposedly such a thing...guess what...thats a joke too.

Jan 28 2019, yes they are still at it

STOP THE CALLS!!!!

We never answer our phone (only have landline. Fine, since laptops do the rest). Let machine pick it up. Either pick up after if we know them or call them back. We never talk to or pick up for anyone we don't know. Our phone rings a few times a day during work hours, and whoever it is just hangs up when machine picks up. Works great.

I have received 2-5 calls a day for 7 years now. I block every number , every time they call. Nothing works.
They are calling from all over the world but if we somehow follow them to their business/where they are calling from. Organize groups to harrase them, it might create enough buzz to stop, I am to a point where, someone might put my fist to their face. Not sure why they would want to but, who knows.
If anyone knows organization to join, let me know.

I have counted and have literally blocked over 500 numbers, though am still fighting a losing battle. I have also tried everything from being nice to profanity to threatening litigation to sending someone “after” the caller personally! Nothing works! I would happily pay for a solution.

I have been getting both phone calls and text messages at least 3 to 4 times a week for over 10 years and they refuse to stop no matter how many times I have asked and they usually hang up on me before I even can finish asking them to stop

I am a UK resident and receive a call from these about every two weeks. The calls used to come from random numbers from the USA however recently they use cell numbers. I repeatedly ask to be taken off their call list which in the past they have said they would do only for me to receive future calls. Today the operator became abusive using language I will not repeat. What can be done to stop these low life's?

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